MUSKOGEE – Two Tahlequah women, one of whom owned a local business that abruptly shut down this summer, have been charged in federal court.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Oklahoma confirmed Friday that Amanda Louise Ellis, 40, was sentenced on Aug. 8, 2019, to 12 months’ imprisonment, and three years of supervised release for making a false statement. That crime violates Title 18, U.S. Code, Section 1001(a)(2). Ellis was also ordered to pay restitution of $89,324.78.
U.S. Attorney Brian J. Kuester said though Ellis' sentence was determined two months ago, it dovetails a related matter that was settled Thursday evening, Oct. 10. At that time, Julieann Logsdon, 33, was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment, and two years of supervised release for making a false statement. Elliss has begun serving her time.
The charges against the two arose from an investigation by the Tahlequah Police Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The probe was related to an Aug. 26, 2017, arson case at Mail-Mart, a shipping business at One Plaza South in Tahlequah. Ellis owned the business, and though the investigation has been ongoing for some time, ultimately she was not charged in the arson.
Kuester said that on Aug. 28, 2017, Ellis knowingly made a "false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement," claiming she had received a phone call from a specific individual, although she knew the call had come from someone else. That was in relation to the fire, and it was reported in the Daily Press and other media outlets.
The indictment charging Logsdon alleged that the following day, she also made a false, fictitious, and fraudulent statement. She told authorities she entered the Mail-Mart and turned off the alarm, at a specific date and time. Kuester said that contrary to Logsdon's statement, she did not enter the building or turn of an alarm.
“Federal law enforcement agents have difficult jobs. Their work is made even more difficult when people who have knowledge of a crime lie to agents in an effort to sabotage an investigation," said Kuester. "Fortunately, during the course of this investigation, it became apparent that Ellis and Logsdon had lied to investigators. As a result, they are being held accountable.”
U.S. District Judge Ronald A. White presided over the hearings in Muskogee. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dean Burris prosecuted the case.